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The following article has been written by Brother Shain Parwiz.
REIMAGINING ISLAM IN DIASPORA
The Politics of Mediated Community
What is seen these days are far more complex hybrid, one in which sees Islamic meanings shift, change and transmutate where things (ability to obtain, the manner in which education, perception and understanding Islam and its inherent values) differ between inter generational members of the religion.
The older generation of Muslims is by all respects resistant to change as evidenced by the quote ‘ Books… could now consulted be by any Ahmad, Mohamud or Muhammad and they could make what they (would of) of them. No longer was a sheaf of impeccable ijazas; the buttress of authority; strong Islamic commitment would be enough.’ (Robinson 1993; 245)
The generations of old still hold to the tenet that to gain Islamic knowledge, should stay as they were; which is by oral teachings from a scholar to his student who will only be permitted to pass on the teachings after being awarded an ijaza (license) by the teacher. This state of affairs allowed the ulama virtually a monopoly over the production of authoritative religious knowledge. This goes ways to explain as to why the hesitance of embracing print and other forms of new media that seeks to disseminate and educate followers of the faith.
The rise of information technologies and mediums has created a new class of Muslims, the hybrid Muslim (one who uses his intellectual capabilities as well applying methods that come from a different conceptual universe than the segments by which he (sic) recombines). With the current world communications infrastructure, ideas and now possess the capability to bridge time and same space almost effortlessly and political implications of this new capacity are not easily overestimated.
The argument held by these new breed of Muslims are that ‘the new resources are not intended to replace the religious scholars or commentators but it also means that they (scholars) will not be able to get away with just saying anything. Scholars now will have to check their sources twice because people will be able to go to the sources and check to see if what was said on the pulpit corresponds with what is in the books …but it is important to note that IT and all other forms of new media is not for generating one’s on fatwas.’ (Barkatulla, 1998).
In essence, the conflict and subsequent resolution can only be arrived when all the generations embrace the past, present and future of Islamic learning and understanding. The conflict will continue to remain and ultimately possesses the potential to divide.